There’s nothing new about proposals for space launching facilities based …

Comment on Alice Springs losing the space race? by Alex Nelson.

There’s nothing new about proposals for space launching facilities based somewhere in the Top End. In the 1960s the European Space Research Agency assessed the Top End as a potential location for launching satellites but opted instead for French Guiana in South America.
The north of Australia in those times was considered too remote and expensive to operate such a facility.
In September 1986 a British space engineering firm approached the NT Government for consideration of a satellite launching site but this never progressed. I vaguely recall the reason (apparently) why the Top End was rejected was because of concerns about the trajectory of rockets passing over New Guinea, any launch failures posing an unacceptable risk to population centres in that country. This seems no longer to be a major concern.
The reason sites nearest the equator are preferred for rocket launches is because that’s where the Earth spins fastest on its axis, which gives added impetus for launches into orbit. The saving in fuel costs is considerable (a major reason why the US has its major launch facility at Cape Canaveral – previously Kennedy – in Florida, and the Europeans have theirs in French Guiana. Both sites have the advantage of launch trajectories tracking over the open ocean, too).
Ironically, probably the best location on earth for a space launching site – located precisely on the equator and with open ocean to the east – also happens to be one of the most dangerous places on the planet: It is Mogadishu in Somalia!

Recent Comments by Alex Nelson

Town planning farce: Lawler dodges the hard questions
This encounter instantly reminded me of a passage in George Orwell’s “Nineteen Eighty-Four” when Winston Smith followed an old man into a pub with the intention of finding out from him what life was like before the revolution that led to the rise of Big Brother.
Yet no matter how earnestly he asked the old man to recall the early years of his life, “Winston had the feeling they were talking at cross-purposes.”
He kept on prodding the old man for information but “a sense of helplessness took hold of Winston. The old man’s memory was nothing but a rubbish-heap of details. One could question him all day without getting any real information.”
Plying the old man with beer, he tried one more time but failed: “Winston sat back against the window sill. It was no use going on. He was about to buy some more beer when the old man suddenly got up and shuffled rapidly into the stinking urinal at the side of the room. The extra half-litre was already working on him. Winston sat for a minute or two gazing at his empty glass, and hardly noticed when his feet carried him out into the street again.”
Welcome to the Big Brother reality of honest accountable government in the Northern Territory!


Student boarding funding restored – for now
Isn’t that something? A minister of the NT Government has listened to concerns about a government decision, and reversed it in a day.
Little aggravation, and great relief for many, I should think.
Minister Selena Uibo has set a fine example – now, if only certain others of her colleagues would take notice of public concern about the NT Government’s poor decision-making over the location of the proposed National Aboriginal Art Gallery…


Remains of missing man found near Yambah
@ John Bell (Posted September 20, 2018 at 10:21 pm): The skeleton was identified, a young man only recently arrived in Alice Springs in 1965. It’s believed he was a victim of an accidental discharge of his rifle, not a suicide.


Ring a bell?
Is it just me, or is it the case that the “Boundless Possible” embarrassment has suffered a swift death, consigned quietly to the wheelie bin of history?
Ah yes, a government elected into office that promised us all greater standards of honesty and accountability; but no, it’s just business as usual, that we’ve long endured for decades in the Northern Territory.
It really makes no difference who’s in charge.


Four dogs suspected poisoned with 1080
@ Ruth Weston (Posted September 7, 2018 at 1:08 pm): Sodium fluoroacetate is the commercially produced 1080 poison, and is closely related to potassium fluoroacetate, the poisonous chemical found in a wide variety of plant species.
Both chemicals have the same effect, disrupting the Krebs Cycle (or Citric Acid Cycle) which disrupts the ability of cells to metabolise carbohydrates, fats and proteins for energy production.
It was biochemist Ray Murray, based in Alice Springs with the Animal Industry Branch from 1954 to 1966, who first identified the naturally occurring 1080-based compound that occurs sporadically in poison Gidgee (Acacia georginae) which plagued the beef cattle industry in the east of Central Australia and across the Queensland border.


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